Edinburgh Fringe: Controversial show cancellations as Graham Linehan speaks out over axed appearance

Graham Linehan’s show at Edinburgh Fringe has been cancelled over his controversial remarks - but which other comedians have had shows axed over the years?

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Graham Linehan’s scheduled comedy show at Leith Arches for the Edinburgh Fringe festival has been cancelled due to complaints. The writer was due to perform at Leith Arches on Thursday evening (August 17).

The venue announced it pulled the gig because it did not support Linehan, who has been an outspoken critic of transgender self-identification, as his views do "not align with our overall values". Leith Arches added it had not been aware of the billing until it was informed by customers.

Following the cancellation, Linehan urged the Edinburgh venue to reconsider its decision and suggested it might be unlawful. Organisers have now rescheduled the gig at a new venue, which is being kept underwraps.

Mr Linehan took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to respond to the initial cancellation.

He posted: "It sure sounds like discrimination on the grounds of my legally protected beliefs."

But which other comedians have had shows cancelled at Edinburgh Fringe over the years and why? Here’s everything you need to know.

Graham Linehan and Joanna CherryGraham Linehan and Joanna Cherry
Graham Linehan and Joanna Cherry

Joanna Cherry

In May, Edinburgh venue, The Stand, cancelled a scheduled 2023 Fringe festival appearance by SNP MP Joanna Cherry. The cancellation came after staff said they were not comfortable with her views on transgender issues.

However, The Stand later reinstated it and apologised, admitting the cancellation was "unfair and constituted unlawful discrimination against Ms Cherry". The ‘In Conversation With... Joanna Cherry’ event took place last week.

Jerry Sadowitz

In August 2022, the Pleasance Theatre in Edinburgh cancelled the second of two Sadowitz shows. The venue claimed it received an "unprecedented number of complaints" following the first performance.

The Pleasance Theatre added a "large number" of people walked out of the show as they "felt uncomfortable and unsafe to remain in the venue".

At the time, the comedy show’s operator claimed it did not censor its comedians’ material when explaining why the performance was cancelled. However, it added Sadowitz’s performance was "extreme in its racism, sexism, homophobia and misogyny".

The controversial comic will return to the Fringe this year with three performances at Queen’s Hall.

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